Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Friday, August 26, 2016

Le Cordon Bleu La Boutique in Tokyo

After checking out the Kyu Asakura House (posts are here) it was time for lunch. To say it was a relief to get out of the heat was an understatement.

My friend's choice was Le Cordon Bleu's La Boutique.

It's a little cafe where students put their skills to work.

I know, fly all the way to Japan only to end up eating Western food? But look at those pastries!

My friend chose this cute little fruit tart which she thoroughly enjoyed. That blueberry was first to be eaten.

Since I hadn't eaten much in the last day or so having been traveling for most of it, I decided to approach this with an anime feeling and chose the croquet monsieur. For a grilled cheese sandwich it was quite good. The sharpness of the cheese complimented the ham inside nicely.

So hard to decide which dessert. I ended up with this lovely opera cake. The espresso in it along with my iced tea was a good pick-me-up.

There were a number of fun things to look at in the cafe including boxes of macarons. Tempting but I had plans for my macaron money. Also being shown were these student works of art. Made of bread.

This musical lady playing koto made me think of Mitsuki Dazai. I will have to post the photo for her.

In case you are ever in this area and feeling hungry for cafe cuisine, here is the website for Le Cordon Bleu's La Boutique.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Outside The Kyu Asakura House

The other striking feature of the Kyu Asakura House are the grounds and gardens. Walking in you notice how lush they are.

I'm trying to remember what I was told about the difference between personal and public Japanese gardens. Notable about the Kyu Asakura House are the number of large stone lanterns.

Even more eye catching are the views from inside the house. To me this is one of the most pleasing things about Japanese architecture. The merging of the outside with the inside. I just wanted to sit with a cup of tea and relax.

It also helps psychologically to make one feel cooler in hot weather. Japanese houses were built to deal with hot weather. Cold weather not so much. With views like this it does make it a little more bearable.

The second floor of the house offered views of the lower roofs and gardens. Along with the contrast of the modern buildings that surround it.

Clay tiles cover the roofs which were helpful to protect from fires and easy to replace when earthquakes happened.

The inner courtyard garden. I wonder if the stone grinding wheel was from a rice grinding mill. Since Torajiro Asakura was a rice broker I would assume it was. There was at least one more in the outer garden. Also this inner garden must be amazing when it rains and water fills the little pot and then overflows into the little pond.

I imagine so many features of the gardens have personal reference to Mr. Asakura. Even the stones have meaning. This walk way reminded me of the Portland Japanese Garden where they are really good about explaining all the different features. Japanese Gardens have many levels. The top is the aesthetic beauty. Next are the different features that may have meaning such as a stone representing a mountain or a bed of pebbles appearing like a lake or stream. Beyond that are the personal meanings to those who created it. It really is an art.

Despite the heat, it was great being able to see this house and garden. It is worth visiting if you are in Tokyo and want to see something that harkens back to the time prior to modern architecture.

Next up, food!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Kyu Asakura House

There are a few things around and near Daikanyama that are not Westernized. Like this little shrine which is well tended. Although the modern roof and surround are unusual.

There is also the Kyu Asakura House. This is one of the first places in the area that my friend took me to. She had been there before but was happy to see it again. The house and outbuildings were built in 1918 by politician and rice dealer Asakura Torajiro in the style that was popular up through the mid Showa period.

After taking off our shoes we stepped into one of the long halls floored with tatami mats. What first caught my eye was the details in every room.

Like this carved transom. Wood, especially cedar, and hand painted screens were abundant.




A hint of the gardens outside. Windows were open through out due to the extreme heat and humidity. The two story house was designed to optimize air flow as a way to cool the interior on hot days.


There was a kappa in this room.

 Interesting that one room had a Western interior. This was used for visitors and as a butler's office.

However Japanese formalities were not forgotten as there was also a tea room.

Given the number of photos I have, there will be a second post about the Kyu Asakura House. For a little more information about the house and grounds, the city of Shibuya has this nice pdf here.